The apparent war between the Wall Street Journal and YouTube may have taken another controversial turn after popular H3H3 YouTuber Ethan Klein claimed that the newspaper had faked evidence to slam YouTube’s advertising platform — a salacious allegation that may have turned out to be untrue.
The growing rift between YouTube vloggers and the traditionally conservative newspaper outlet has been growing for several weeks, starting with a story the Wall Street Journal ran about popular YouTuber PewDiePie. The story noted a series of times the vlogger had used Nazi imagery in his jokes and satire, leading Disney to cut ties with PewDiePie.
That led to a large response from PewDiePie other YouTube content creators, including Ethan Klein of the production studio H3H3. They claimed that the story took PewDiePie’s jokes out of context and were purposely trying to harm him and other YouTubers.
Last week, another story found that some major companies had ads showing on YouTube videos with blatantly racist material in them, leading to big advertisers including AT&T pulling ads from YouTube. That led YouTube to reconfigure its monetization plans for YouTubers, which YouTube content creators said had slashed their revenue.
As Kotaku noted, the changes have caused anger and frustration across the video platform.
“More recently, YouTube announced new policies for monetization on March 20th, saying that they would be cracking down on hate speech, and introducing strong controls for advertisers to determine what videos their ads are displayed next to, among other things. Since then, YouTubers like Ethan Klein, also known as H3H3 Productions, said that they had hundred of videos demonetized without warning. Given the amount of content that was demonetized, it’s hard for him to ascertain which of these videos break the guidelines.”
In the wake of these changes, Ethan Klein of H3H3 released a video claiming that the Wall Street Journal had actually faked a screenshot showing an advertisement on a blatantly racist video. He had hinted in a previous video that he believed evidence presented in the Wall Street Journal article against YouTube may have been faked and laid out these claims in more detail in a video released on Sunday.
In the video, Klein claimed that the video in question had not been monetized and would not have the advertisement shown in the screenshot accompanying the article. He concluded that the Wall Street Journal must have faked the screenshot in order to harm YouTube.
But graphs Klein used in his assertion may have been wrong, many have pointed out, because audio used on the video in question had been used by a third party. That means the video itself would not have received ad revenue.
If true, that would mean that Ethan Klein was either lying — or more likely just incorrect — with his claim that the YouTube screenshot had been faked by the Wall Street Journal.
But if his claim was incorrect, the damage may already be done. The video making the claim had already gone viral, with two separate copies occupying the top two spots on the link-sharing site Reddit on Sunday. Many users were advocating for the Wall Street Journal to be sued while many others took their frustrations directly to the writer’s social media.
It appears that the Wall Street Journal vs. YouTube controversy may have reached H3H3 and Ethan Klein.
In the hour after the evidence surfaced that his claim may be wrong, H3H3 took down the video making the allegation and noted that they may have been wrong about the claims.
[Featured Image by H3H3/Ethan Klein/YouTube]